Hong Kong( CNN) It was an excruciatingly pain practise that mutilated the feet of millions of Chinese girls and women for centuries: foot-binding.

“In the conventional view, it existed to please humankinds. They were thought to be attracted to small-scale feet, ” told Laurel Bossen, co-author of the new book “Bound feet, Young hands.”

But Bossen’s research suggests that the custom has been massively misunderstood.